I was reading one of the other threads on here about the maps showing up unaccredited on other sites, and it got me thinking on a tangent - on the incredibly slim chance I actually finish the world I'm working on and it's worth it, what options are there for selling/publishing it? I assume none of the big game companies would want it; they most likely either work by direct commission or have their own in-house staff to build them.
Offhand, that seems to leave smaller game companies, self-publishing, electronic downloads, and the like.
While past performance is no guarantee of future success, I have a long history of not finishing projects. But I imagine there are quite a few folks here who are more focused and might be interested in publishing their work, if they know it's an option and have some pointers for how to do it.
EDIT: Just realized the actual question of the thread is buried in the middle of the first paragraph.
Here it is: What options are there for non-professional fantasy cartographers for selling or publishing their work?
There are a lot of ways I suppose. Gamerprinter has recently gotten into publishing his works and has been working with a publisher. If you search out his posts you will see he has been keeping us updated so you can kind of get an idea.
You might also like to look at this post, How-to-get-commissions-and-get-paid-to-map.
If you want to self publish your work you can do that but then you have to worry about selling it, obviously. There are some sites that allow you to do that. Kickstarter comes to mind and there was a Gamer website that RecklessEnthusiasm mentioned some time back. I can't seem to find it now but it allowed you to sell your own game on their site.
As this is something I'm still digging in the dirt about hopefully some of the more accomplished ones around here can add more.
For now I have been working on building up my body of work so I have something to show when I get around to doing this myself. My thought is that as you get better known it should open more doors to you. We'll see.
The problem with self publishing is to be noticed. There are thousands of rpg pages, and if you don't have tons of money for Google Adwords then it can be hard to show up in search results. You can of course choose to self publish via more established channels like amazon, lulu, rpgnow and such - they'll take a cut of the money but they draw in the crowd as well.
I believe the place RE talked about was www.thegamecrafter.com but they only make board games (of course he could have talked about something in a thread I missed)
But the thing to know is that any venture is hard work, not only to make the producct, but also to sell it. However - earning money on your hobby would be rather satisfiying ;)
... so you gotta ask yourself ... do you feel lucky? .... well, do you?... punk! ;)
LOL, funny Tilt - Yes, that was the site I was remembering.
One place (besides here) to find commission work is over on eLance.com It is a site that anyone can post to looking to hire anyone or to do a job for someone. I have gotten several of my maps from people there.
You would be competing with people from all over the world at small (and sometimes large) projects that need lots of various design skills. With their escrow system you can be sure you will be paid for your work. There is a nice system of milestones to keep the job on track and agreed upon by both sides.
Of course as said above all you need is a log in to Lulu, Amazon, CafePress, just about any sales site. The percentage you make from each sale is important for you because you can only expect to sell a handful of each piece. 99% of your purchasers will be GMs so if there are a few hundred to a couple thousand gamers who come across your product maybe a few dozen will actually be people who would lay down money.
In my opinion the hardest part of selling RPG artwork is the price.
I can buy a great map from 0onegames.com for $3 and use it in 10 different sessions. Or I can pay someone a commission for a campaign specific map that costs me 500 times that. Both have value for me but I am going to buy the cheaper version far more often. Plus with each map being useful for multiple weeks/sessions that leaves someone with a need for perhaps a dozen maps per year.
If you have a long running campaign like mine (18+ years) that does build up to a considerable amount of maps but most people run on the much shorter term.
Not to throw cold water on your plans, I try my hardest to not buy from any large publisher anymore (after all I am still running AD&D 2nd edition :o for my campaign) and I joined here exactly to find good artists.
Put together a small portfolio to show off on a website and everything should include some sort of watermark or image built into the art so you can verify it is yours. Have fun doing what you love to do and count yourself lucky that you can make at least enough money from it to have it pay for itself.
of course YOMV
OK, aside from the fact that I am a pro fantasy cartographer who does maps on commission for publishers - like others on this site: Torstan, Sapiento, Djekspek and many others, I've gone into publishing myself to both showcase my work and to earn profits beyond a commission - which only a publisher can earn. I have connection in the industry (many actually) with Rite Publishing, whom I approached with my campaign setting idea. Like Jax mentions, there is Kickstarters. Well Rite Publishing relies on the patronage development model, which is essentially what Kickstarters is. The idea is promoted on a site trying to acquire patrons to signup and pay for varying levels of development participation. Their proceeds actually pays for art and many of the startup costs needed to get a publication out on the market.
As Tilt mentions getting noticed in the crowd is the tough part, so doing it completely on your own as a startup RPG publisher is definitely an uphill climb. By choosing to publish as an imprint under Rite Publishing, I have the advantage that Rite Publishing is in the top 3 third party publishers supporting the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, which means getting exposure is easier. For example, I just learned (early this morning) that my first release for my setting publication, a PC monster race/class book called In the Company of Kappa, was listed at #3 on RPG Countdown 3/12/11 - which is 'wow', aside from a few ads here and there, its mostly me talking it up in the forums on various RPG sites (I've posted this in the News board, in my Kappa thread.)
Both Pathways, Rite Publishing's 3pp support magazine, and the fan created Wayfinder magazine will feature free full page ads in each this coming month. Wolfgang Baur's Kobold Quarterly is offering some free adverting next Quarter's publication and on their forum site. So Kaidan, my setting is getting lots of free and low cost advertising directly in the industry. So advertising is how to get noticed - getting free ads is a great way of doing that.
Had I tried to publish this on my own, it's possible I could have gotten the same response, but having worked with Rite Publishing, I've got a great advantage as far as exposure and advertising goes. Kaidan might get really big - it's starting to hint that way, anyway.
All good info. For myself, I probably won't go to the effort of seeking commissions or trying to sell myself to companies. I'm not looking to move into semi-pro status or anything. I'll be much more likely to just post up a PDF document with maps and info laid out on a GM downloads site, and be happy to just get a small fee for it.
But there are probably other artists out there who are interested in geatting paid to make maps.